The world's excitement over the return of the iconic Nokia 3310 might indicate that the smartphone industry's development is plateauing.
This year's Mobile World Congress generated buzz because it debuted the new reincarnation of the 3310. The Mobile World Congress is the mobile device technology fair, but this year, a less technologically-advanced mobile phone was the belle of the ball.
That's certainly not something you would expect at a technology fair. Usually, an exciting new invention or product with innovative new features takes center stage. But we've all literally seen the 3310 before. Some of us may have even had it as our very first mobile phone. What, therefore, accounts for the buzz surrounding its resurrection?
Tech insiders are less enthused about the excitement surrounding the 3310. Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, considers all the attention to be “an absolutely damning indictment of the state of the smartphone market”.
Nokia first introduced the 3310 to the world a whopping 17 years ago (yes, it really has been that long). It sold 126 million units worldwide, making the 3310 one of the most successful phones to this day. The phone's popularity eventually evolved into a cult status, making the phone an icon of the early noughties.
Durability is also one of the 3310's best features. In fact, several memes and jokes about the 3310's durability have exploded over the web in recent years. The 3310 also had a long-lasting battery, unlike the smartphones of today. It is definitely nostalgic for those of us who remember what it was like to go for days without having to charge our phone.
The 3310's new reincarnation promises all these and more. Best of all, it even has a new version of Snake! Nokia hasn't officially set a release date yet, but it has listed the phone's price as €49.
While the excitement over the Nokia 3310's return isn't wrong in itself, it does raise some questions. Why are people so excited about it? Is it nostalgia? Is it a desire to go back to what were relatively simpler times? Is it because the phone's return is a successful marketing ploy?
Or is it because today's smartphones have become boring?
This isn't to say that smartphones aren't useful. If they were, they wouldn't be at the center of our own individual universes. However, there's nothing really all that new about them. They all offer the same things—a touchscreen, a camera, voice capabilities, and the ability to connect to the Internet. You can play games on them and track your entire life with a handful of apps.
These are all amazing—or, at least, they were amazing. We've come to expect these capabilities in smartphones. So far, each smartphone is more or less the same as the last. There's talk of the creation of an all-screen smartphone, but as history has shown, even that could be old news.
For now, smartphones may have stiff competition in the Nokia 3310.
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